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Great Artemis Head and Bust

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Great Artemis Head and Bust
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View of the head and bust of the "Great Artemis." Notice the two lions on her arms, her necklaces, and the animals that surround her head.  Also clearly visible is her "belt" with flowers and bees on it.

The goddess is decorated with various animal figures, including bees and bulls.  Especially noticeable are the many oval objects projecting from her chest, which have given rise to various interpretations.  The most frequently suggested identifications of these objects are that they represent eggs, breasts, or bull testicles (bulls were often sacrificed to Artemis), any of which would have served as symbols of fertility.  Unfortunately, most of both arms of the statue are missing.


Artemis was the chief deity of Ephesus.  Her temple, the Artemision, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

This statue was found ritually buried in the Prytaneion in the Upper City of Ephesus.  The statue is 9.6 ft. tall.  It is dated to the first or second century A.D. 

Fant, Clyde E., and Mitchell G. Reddish. Lost Treasures of the Bible — Understanding the Bible Through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008, p. 355.